Richard Watson is a correspondent for BBC Newsnight
He joined the programme in 1998 after working as a BBC reporter for The Money Programme, Panorama and on radio documentaries for the Radio 4 series File on 4.
He specialises in investigations; several have won top awards.
In 2002 he revealed that half of all gun crime in the UK was being carried out with converted air pistols which could be legally bought in sports shops up and down the country. His Newsnight investigation won a Royal Television Society award and directly led to a change in the law. The air gun featured was later banned from sale in the UK.
Two years later he received a second Royal Television Society award – this time for his investigation into the radical Islamist group Al Muhajiroun. This film focused on a white teenager from Crawley who had converted to Islam to join the group. More than a year before the 7th July London bombings, the film revealed how new recruits to Al Muhajiroun were being taught to hate British society and how members defended the attacks on the twin towers in New York.
His File on 4 investigation into corruption in the European Commission won a Sony Radio Award. In 2003 Richard covered the Gulf War in Iraq, ending up at Basra Palace army base, camping on Saddam’s lawn.
Richard started his career as a geologist after leaving University College London in 1985. But he soon traded rocks for journalism after completing an Operation Raleigh expedition in the Solomon Islands. After training on specialist magazines, he was sent to cover the first Gulf war as a journalist and photographer. He then joined the BBC in the West Country as business and industry correspondent, experience which led him to his first network reporter’s job for the Money Programme in 1993.
In his spare time he loves to walk and climb in the mountains.